In 2009, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center partnered with the National Park Service, The Garden Club of America, and the National Invasive Species Council to educate the public about the best approaches to prevent harmful invasive plants from invading parklands and natural areas. Invasive plant management can be influenced greatly by the public. The Be Plantwise partners offer 10 tips for homeowners to prevent introductions of invasives, manage a landscape in the presence of introduced species, and use native plants, or non-invasive plants that are not invasive, as alternatives.
1. Know your plants. Find out which plants cause problems in parks or natural areas in your region to know which species to avoid.
2. Use non-invasive alternatives. Ask a nursery about non-invasive plant alternatives. Native plants often have similar characteristics to invasives without the damaging ecological side effects.
3. Watch out for invasive plant hitchhikers. Check clothes, belongings and vehicles for seeds and pieces of plants that attach and drop somewhere new.
4. Have a care if you share. Many invasive plants move around because they are attractive garden plants. Do not share cuttings, seedlings or plants that are invasive with neighbors and friends.
5. Use only seed mixes that are invasive plant-free. Check the ingredients of seed mixes to make sure invasive plants are not included. Buy seed mixes from reputable sources that guarantee the purity and content of their seed. Take your regional native plant list with you when you buy the mix.
6. Use weed-free soil and mulch mix. Some invasive plants are introduced because they were contaminants in landfill soil and mulch mixes. Purchase from reputable manufacturers that guarantee the purity or weed-free content of their soil and mulch mixes. Look for a tag that says "Certified weed-free."
7. Be especially careful with aquatic plants. Don't just dump them! Invasive aquatic plants are often introduced as attractive water garden and aquarium decorations.
8. Keep an eye on new sprouts and volunteers. Invasive plants can come from anywhere and spread very quickly. Some make attractive additions to our gardens but can spread very quickly by producing lots of seedlings. Control your invasive garden plants by hand pulling or mowing unwanted seedlings to prevent them from growing to maturity. Be aware of what is coming up in your yard and take care to control these new invasives.
9. Dispose of invasive plants carefully. When disposing of invasive plant material consider whether there are any seeds, fruits or cuttings that could re-sprout. At a minimum, bag these materials to help prevent their spread. If it is permitted in your area and can be safely done, consider burning the plant material.
10. If you can't part with your invasive plant, remember - contain it, control it or cage it. Please be responsible. If you have a plant in your garden that has invasive tendencies, take special steps to keep it in your garden such as inserting root barriers, trimming regularly or harvesting fruits or seeds before they are spread.
Be PlantWise is a partnership between the National Park Service, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The Garden Club of America, and The National Invasive Species Council to educate the public and communities about best management practices to prevent harmful invasive plants from invading parklands and natural areas.
Download PlantWise Brochure (pdf)
Download PlantWise Bookmark (pdf)
Download PlantWise Poster (pdf)